Friday, August 19, 2005

Adult rating for newspapers too?

From Deccan Herald ...

New Delhi, Aug. 18: The top court on Thursday issued notices to the Centre, the Press Council of India, two English dailies and two news agencies on a public interest petition (PIL) seeking laying down of rules and regulations to ensure that minors are not exposed to obscene material, which could be classified as Adult (A) and Universal (U) as is done for films. Petitioner Ajay Goswami through the PIL sought direction of the court to the Centre and the Press Council of India (PCI) to constitute an apex committee to look into the problem of minors being exposed to obscenity through the depiction of erotic materials in the press and to frame rules to curb the same.
After preliminary hearing, a bench of the court comprising Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti, Justice G.P. Mathur and Justice P.K. Balasubramanyam issued notices to the Centre, the PCI, The Times of India, Hindustan Times and the news agencies Press Trust of India and United News of India.“In order to increase their circulation in the age of cut-throat competition,” the petition said, “newspapers are throwing etiquette to the winds much to the prejudice of the interest of minors through (the publication of) obscene materials,” alleged the petition.
“Newspapers are publishing titillating material in the form of SMS jokes, articles on pornography, sex education (which at times is more pornography than education), comments on porn magazines or movies categorised to be viewed for ‘Adults only’ in addition to semi-nude photographs,” the petitioner alleged and pleaded that there was an urgent need to protect minors from their bad influence.
The petition said that news items on beauty pageants and the like may not seem obscene prima facie, but the presentation or photographs accompanying them “may cater to the prurient interest of the public at large.” The petition said that no guidelines had been framed by the PCI to protect minors from being exposed to such “newspaper obscenity.” There is no statutory force that compels newspapers to follow such norms that the PCI lays down, it said.
The PIL sought regulation to ensure that obscene material would not reach children. For that, one way would be to classify them into categories. The categorisation should be “bold enough and published at the top,” said the petition. It said that it was the duty of the government, being a signatory of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution to ensure that children are protected from obscenity, the petition said.
The PCI is vested with certain powers as per the Press Council Act, 1978 and to carry out the aims and objectives of the Act, the Centre is empowered to make the rules on the subject. The Council is also vested with the power to make rergulations for the purpose sought in the petition, the petitioner said.


Blogger Shuuro said...

There are some(may be few) newspapers in India which use semi-nudity to promote their readership. Specially, i'm aware of TOI and deccan chronicle indulging in this acts, DC is well known in AP for this reason, they are good at three things, semi-nudity images, good comprehensive Classifieds and they cover local news. I'm not in favor of censorship but this kind of categorization may drive them reevaluate their strategy in reaching wider sections and improve their newsworthiness.

Tue Aug 23, 12:28:00 AM 2005  
Blogger Sakshi said...

Very well said Shuuro.

Tue Aug 23, 11:10:00 AM 2005  
Blogger Jayan said...

@Shuuro, Saks : I feel The Hindu is the best daily available now. Sadly, I do find some articles comparable to the ToI ones in the Hindu too

Wed Aug 24, 04:15:00 PM 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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I just browsing through some blogs and came across yours!

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Wed Oct 19, 05:35:00 AM 2005  
Blogger Living in Thailand said...

Nice site maybe we can do something!Free SMS and Free Fax

Wed Nov 09, 08:06:00 AM 2005  

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